What is a Lifevest Defibrillator?


Lifevest defibrillator is a wearable external device that monitors ECG patterns continuously and will administer an electric shock (defibrillation) if any dangerous arrhythmias are detected.

Prescription defibrillators are usually recommended for patients at risk of sudden cardiac death, especially those with low left ventricular ejection fraction and who have experienced heart attacks, coronary artery bypass surgery, or stent placement. Pediatric patients who are not eligible for implantable cardiac defibrillators can also benefit from using external defibrillators as an emergency backup plan.

How Does a Lifevest Defibrillator Work?

Here are the four componenets:

  • The Vest
  • The Monitor
  • The Electrode Belt
  • The Shocks

1. The Vest

LifeVest wearable defibrillator is a non-invasive medical device that protects patients against sudden cardiac arrest. Comprised of a vest, electrode belt, and monitor, this non-invasive defibrillator detects certain life-threatening rapid heart rhythms and automatically administers treatment shocks to restore normal heartbeats within one minute – from detection of rapid heartbeats to administering shock treatments is done all within this one minute period.

Your doctor may suggest using a Lifevest defibrillator if you experience issues that affect the electrical system of your heart, which regulates its rhythm. These issues include issues related to the left ventricle (LV), which moves blood out of the lungs into other parts of the body. Enlargement or abnormalities within this chamber could cause it to beat too quickly or too slowly resulting in sudden cardiac arrest.

People recovering from heart attacks or waiting to undergo coronary artery surgery or stent placement could qualify for a LifeVest. Users could utilize it from 40 to 90 days depending on their individual cardiac health status.

Studies on over 2,000 patients revealed that those who wore LifeVests experienced lower death rates from ventricular arrhythmias that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest than those who didn’t; the trial was part of the WEARIT-II registry.

This research was supported by both the National Institutes of Health and Zoll Medical Corporation, makers of LifeVests.

WEARIT-II involved 2,000 participants who had recently had a heart attack and were recovering, along with those awaiting surgery for implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD). The trial demonstrated that fatal arrhythmias were decreased when defibrillators were worn than without them.

Studies show that wearing a lifevest defibrillator may reduce sudden cardiac arrest mortality among those with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction – that is, their heart is only pumping out part of its available blood during each contraction – such as those suffering from thyroid disease or having undergone procedures designed to expand their hearts such as an aortic valve replacement procedure.

2. The Monitor

Lifevest defibrillators constantly read your electrocardiogram (ECG), monitoring for any potentially hazardous rhythms of the heart. Once ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation are identified, the monitor immediately sends an effective shock to treat your condition through electrodes on an undergarment belt you wear under clothing.

Treatment shocks restore normal rhythm and may help ensure you survive until emergency medical services arrive to help. Your physician may suggest a lifevest defibrillator if your heart function has decreased after experiencing a heart attack, prior to or post coronary artery bypass surgery/stent placement, or if you have problems related to its electrical system.

Monitors also make it easy for both you and those around you to detect when your heart has an irregular arrhythmia. Should this occur, an alarm will sound to notify nearby parties that immediate treatment shock may be required.

Alarms will sound for only a minute before giving you time to respond by pushing two buttons on the monitor. If no response is given, your heartbeat will be monitored until it returns to a normal rhythm; otherwise, a treatment shock may be delivered via electrodes in your vest.

Once your treatment is completed, you can return to tracking your heart rate and rhythm as you would have done prior to treatment. If it changes again post-shock, your physician will send a reminder for a shock treatment if necessary.

Some lifevests come equipped with a holster that you can use to securely carry a monitor around your waist or over your shoulder – the monitor typically measures the size of a paperback book.

It can be worn over clothing or underclothing and is comfortable for all-day use; simply don’t remove it when showering or taking a bath!

Monitors are essential components of lifevest defibrillators as they detect when your heartbeat has entered a potentially life-threatening rhythm and provide information regarding when and how a shock should be administered.

3. The Electrode Belt

The electrode belt is an integral component of a Lifevest defibrillator, used to connect and secure electrodes used for shock therapy during cardiac arrest. It weighs less than two pounds.

Lifevest defibrillators use electrode belts to monitor patients’ heart rhythms. If an arrhythmia is detected, warning signals will be sent out via monitor to alert the patient as soon as it occurs, and then shocks may be administered as required based on heart rate, template matching, and event persistence technology.

One of the primary benefits of an electrode belt is its ease of use and high patient comfort. Simply apply and remove without difficulty; cleaning is quick and effortless – helping speed up ECG exams significantly!

One major benefit is its universal compatibility with 12-lead ECG machines, making ECG examination quicker and more comfortable while reducing motion artifacts.

ECG readings can also be easily evaluated and interpreted using this approach, making this especially helpful for patients unable to hold onto electrodes during examinations.

Furthermore, the belt can be opened at one point for quick and efficient exchange of electrodes and connection elements – making cleaning and disinfecting of electrodes and the belt itself much simpler.

For maximum patient comfort, designing the edges of the belt with soft beads such as hose-like tubing can make a considerable difference to its use in long-term usage. Doing this helps avoid sharp skin folds forming along its edges that cause skin irritations at its edges and increases patient satisfaction with their experience of using it.

As an additional advantage, pivotable connection elements are valuable as they allow a firm clamping of multicore cable in front of an electrode belt structure and prevent any kinking due to different tensile loads from occurring in connection elements.

This approach can be particularly advantageous when the electrodes include rigid contact pins that pass through a belt and protrude on one of its sides away from the body, connected via pushbutton-style connection elements.

4. The Shocks

LifeVest defibrillator is a device that detects potentially life-threatening rapid heart rhythms and automatically administers treatment shocks to restore normal heart rate and avoid sudden cardiac arrest, which can occur without warning and lead to sudden death within minutes.

Defibrillators are attached to lightweight garments worn directly against the skin. These garments hold electrode belts in position around the body, with therapy pads to deliver shocks directly to patients’ hearts.

LifeVest detects rapid heartbeats by sounding an alarm. If someone is aware, they can press a button to temporarily stop alarms and postpone treatment shock delivery or elect for shock therapy to be administered.

LifeVest defibrillators provide voice prompts and siren alarms to alert bystanders when an arrhythmia has started, while vibration box announcements signal when the shock is imminent – both will warn bystanders to stay away so they can get help sooner.

Doctors found in a study with children that the LifeVest defibrillator was safe and effective at treating life-threatening ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF) when appropriate shocks were delivered. Of all those converted from VT/VF back into a normal rhythm during treatment, 6 out of 8 survived the procedure.

Researchers found that most patients wore their LifeVest for 20 hours per day – the minimum recommended wearing time – and those who wore it longer were more likely to experience a successful conversion of VT or VF to a normal rhythm.

An important factor when it came to survival after the shock was the frequency of tachycardia or fibrillation during life-threatening events, and this proved a strong predictor.

Patients should be aware of potential predisposing factors, including age, gender, and mental health status that increase the risk of perceived shock (PS). Cardiologists, psychologists, and addiction medicine should collaborate in evaluating any patient seeking a WCD or ICD for possible PS.


The LifeVest Defibrillator is a revolutionary device that can save lives in the event of sudden cardiac arrest. It is a wearable device that can detect and respond to life-threatening heart rhythms, delivering an electrical shock to the heart if necessary. The device is easy to use and can be worn continuously, providing peace of mind for those at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. The LifeVest Defibrillator is a life-saving device that can help save lives in the event of a cardiac emergency.


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